Easy to Make Pilgrim Costume

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The traditional pilgrim outfit was worn for special occasions.
The traditional pilgrim outfit was worn for special occasions. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Welcome in your next Thanksgiving -- or costume party -- by wearing your own easy-to-make pilgrim costume. Fashion has changed a lot since the pilgrim days, but their styles are not completely foreign to today's clothing. Many clothing items can be retrofitted for pilgrim costumes, and many everyday items can be upcycled to create new pilgrim costume pieces. All of these pieces can be created from start to finish in under an hour.

Ladies' Bonnets

Pilgrim women wore bonnets to protect their hair. Ladies' pilgrim bonnets can be created by using a large piece of paper -- legal paper works well. Cut a 3-inch V shape into the paper 6 1/4 inches from each end. This will create the three sections used to make the back of the bonnet. Make the front edge of the bonnet by turning the uncut side down 1 inch. Turn the cut-side sections toward each other, and overlap them across the center piece. Staple the paper in place. Add a ribbon to each side of the bonnet for ties.

Men's Hats

Pilgrim men wore large sunhats to provide shade as they worked. These hats can be brown or black. They are easily created from a plastic flower pot and pre-stiffened felt. Spray paint the flower pot black. Hot glue a 6-inch-wide band of felt to the rim of the flower pot. Wrap a 2-inch-wide piece of ribbon around the hat and then hot glue it in place. Hot glue a buckle to the front center of the ribbon.

Ladies' Costume

Pilgrim women wore A-line skirts and waistcoats. This look can be replicated by wearing a solid-colored A-line skirt, a buttoned-up shirt and an apron. Create an ankle-length apron from a white sheet. Measure from your waist to ankle to determine the length. Cut the fabric to the appropriate length and hem it. Turn the other end of the fabric over to create a waist casing. Cut a long rectangular piece of fabric from the leftover fabric to create a belt that measures 5 inches wide. Hem this piece and insert it through the waist casing to create a tie.

Men's Costume

Men wore breeches and doublets, or jerkins. Men's costume breeches can be created by cutting dark-colored sweat pants at the knee and sewing elastic to the bottom of the pants legs. Wear these with tunic shirts and jerkins. Jerkins are easily created from paper shopping bags. Crumple the bag into a ball and then smooth it out with a flat iron. Cut a slit up the center front of the bag, and cut a key-shaped neckhole into the top of the bag. Add armholes to the sides of the jerkin. If needed, add extra paper to the back center and attach it with brown packing tape.

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